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pufin3

Best Flour for roux

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I've used AP flour for years when making a roux.

I've found using unsalted clarified butter to be the best type. That's pretty much the standard. But I suspect there are/is a type of flour that gives the better result than AP flour.

For the record I follow Escoffier's ratio of 5 parts butter to 6 parts flour. I always 'dextrinize' the flour before using it in a roux.

 Any thoughts/suggestion for the best type of flour to use?

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Ive used Wondra for a long time.   I can't tell you what find of flour it is but its extremely fine so there is less chance of Lumps.

 

it also might be a low gluten flour like 'cake' flour.

 

its best kept in the refrigerator as various Bugs love the stuff.

 

as for flavor vs other flours i can't really say

 

so 'best' here for me = less lumps.  but lumps are pretty much technique related

 

with the rise of stick blenders, esp one w a variable speed, lumps are most a thing of the past.

 

so 'best' flavor ? can't say.

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'Wondra' flour is in fact already 'dextrinized'. Meaning heat has been used to change the starch molecules which makes it easier to digest.

It isn't so much the 'flavor' I'm looking for. It's the consistency.

I've never needed to use a stick blender making making any gravy base/soup/ sauce based on first making a roux.

 The consistency I achieve is always perfect. 

I'm just looking for another level of excellence.

 

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then why not look into higher-end flour.

 

King Arthur as many high protein flours, but shipping cost may be prohibitive.

 

Im sorry if you thought the stick-blender idea was for you.  Ive need had lumps either w a whisk.

 

i just put it out there for general consumption.

 

Id guess as this seems to be a keen interest for you ;  look for especially fresh flour, ground in small batches.

 

there are places like that on the internet, and are mentioned here from time to time in the various baking threads, but they escape me now.

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Wondra is designed to thicken sauces without any requirement for it being cooked. It won't give you the raw flour flavor that you'd otherwise get (which is actually the flavor of partially cooked flour ... raw flour is pretty tasteless). And since the starch has be pre-gelatinized, it will dissolve easily and have full thickening power right away. It's basically so you can use wheat flour the same way you'd use a purified starch, like corn starch or arrowroot.

 

Since the whole process of making roux, including skimming the released fat, will fully cook and gelatinize any flour, I'm not sure what advantage you'd see from wondra. My inclination would be to go for lower protein flours, rather than higher, since the proteins in the flour just contribute to the scum that you have to skim off. But really, whatever flour you have will work fine.

 

How are people getting lumps in their roux? I've never noticed a tendency for flour form lumps that the requisite whisking wouldn't take care easily enough. Roux should be pretty foolproof. The only thing to keep in mind is that the darker you brown it, the less thickening power it will have.

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AP flour varies by region and manufacturer. In the Southern US it's closer to being cake flour because millers know that it's mostly being used for biscuits. In the North, it's more like pastry flour -closer to bread flour, because they know it's more likely to be used for general pastry and occasional breads.

 

For roux, I agree with paulraphael, use the lowest protein flour you can find. That's generally cake flour.

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18 hours ago, paulraphael said:

Wondra is designed to thicken sauces without any requirement for it being cooked. It won't give you the raw flour flavor that you'd otherwise get (which is actually the flavor of partially cooked flour ... raw flour is pretty tasteless). And since the starch has be pre-gelatinized, it will dissolve easily and have full thickening power right away. It's basically so you can use wheat flour the same way you'd use a purified starch, like corn starch or arrowroot.

 

Since the whole process of making roux, including skimming the released fat, will fully cook and gelatinize any flour, I'm not sure what advantage you'd see from wondra. My inclination would be to go for lower protein flours, rather than higher, since the proteins in the flour just contribute to the scum that you have to skim off. But really, whatever flour you have will work fine.

 

How are people getting lumps in their roux? I've never noticed a tendency for flour form lumps that the requisite whisking wouldn't take care easily enough. Roux should be pretty foolproof. The only thing to keep in mind is that the darker you brown it, the less thickening power it will have.

I'm a long time 'Escoffier' fan. It's my hobby to duplicate as precisely as possible some of Escoffier's recipes. Sort of like a friend who is a fanatic about getting the precise lettering/insignias on the model airplanes he builds as on the original ones.

Anyway. It often occurs to me that the ingredients used in Escoffier's days had to be somewhat different than today's.

Especially dairy products and the types of flour available.

For anyone interested here is Escoffier's basic roux recipe and method for making any sauce etc with it.

6 parts flour/5 parts unsalted clarified butter. Regular table butter contains milk solids which affect the texture and flavor of the roux. In addition the amount of water in table butters vary so much it's not possible to know exactly how much butter fat you are actually getting which can have guite an impact on the finished recipe.

Heat the flour separately over very low heat to first dextrinize the flour. If you want a darker sauce let the flour turn a bit golden.

Add in the butter and combine over very low heat. In a couple of minutes you should end up with a 'grainy' looking roux. You want this. Remove from heat and refrigerate to cool the roux.

When I make a roux I make enough to fill a couple of icecube trays. I use trays that make small ice cubes about the size of a large grape. Not the trays that make the bigger ice cubes. I freeze the roux in the trays then transfer the roux cubes to a Ziplock freezer bag. When I need to make a sauce/soup/gravy I always have the roux handy.

When you want to make a sauce of soup or gravy have your boiling broth or stock ready. Put one or two frozen roux cubes in a heavy large pot. Med. high heat. Pour in about half the boiling broth/stock over the roux cube and begin whisking. Soon the stock/broth will melt the roux cube and you'll get a soup/sauce gravy happening. Add more hot stock/broth to get the consistency you want. Don't 'drizzle' in the hot stock/broth. You'll get wallpaper paste which you will have to keep adding the liquid to anyways. It takes some practice to know how much hot stock/broth to have on hand.

Season. This makes for a silky smooth gravy/sauce/soup with no 'oily' film on top because the roux was cold when the hot stock/broth was poured in.

 


Edited by pufin3 (log)
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Escoffier also predicted that one day we'd have much better thickeners than flour :)

 

I like his recipes as a reference, but for anything like sauces, stocks, glaces etc., I think of them as historical curiosities. We have techniques now that will give better flavor and clarity with less time investment and much less waste.

 

I like roux in certain dishes where it's part of the local character, like gumbo.

 

But I wouldn't assume that there's any important difference between the flour you can get and whatever E. used. The chemistry of roux is such that you're basically clarifying the wheat starch. The butter is a cooking medium, and whatever starch you don't transform by browning gets dispersed and forms a hydrocolloid with the water. The protein separates, cooks, clumps together, and joins the scum on top. So it really doesn't matter if you're using flour that's 9% protein or 14%. If you're making a cake that's success vs. failure, but with roux none of it's going to be in your finished product. 


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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12 hours ago, paulraphael said:

Escoffier also predicted that one day we'd have much better thickeners than flour :)

 

I like his recipes as a reference, but for anything like sauces, stocks, glaces etc., I think of them as historical curiosities. We have techniques now that will give better flavor and clarity with less time investment and much less waste.

 

I like roux in certain dishes where it's part of the local character, like gumbo.

 

But I wouldn't assume that there's any important difference between the flour you can get and whatever E. used. The chemistry of roux is such that you're basically clarifying the wheat starch. The butter is a cooking medium, and whatever starch you don't transform by browning gets dispersed and forms a hydrocolloid with the water. The protein separates, cooks, clumps together, and joins the scum on top. So it really doesn't matter if you're using flour that's 9% protein or 14%. If you're making a cake that's success vs. failure, but with roux none of it's going to be in your finished product. 

Thanks for the information.

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What I am getting from this conversation is that when I make a roux my everyday AP flour is fine but when I want to make a slurry I would be better off with Wondra. Concurrence?

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On March 8, 2016 at 11:27 AM, Porthos said:

What I am getting from this conversation is that when I make a roux my everyday AP flour is fine but when I want to make a slurry I would be better off with Wondra. Concurrence?

 

Exactly. Wondra's also ideal for breading things you're going to sauté.

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I hope this isn't too obvious a question, but can Wondra be used for baking cakes, cookies, pie crusts, or anything but gravy?

Thanks.

Audrey

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9 hours ago, Bakerchic said:

I hope this isn't too obvious a question, but can Wondra be used for baking cakes, cookies, pie crusts, or anything but gravy?

Thanks.

Audrey

I tried a pie crust recipe in Bakewise that used Wondra and ended up throwing it out. Could have been me, I'm sort of pie crust challenged.

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10 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

Exactly. Wondra's also ideal for breading things you're going to sauté.

It's what I use on fish fillets prior to them hitting the pan. Dries the surface nicely and you get good browning and crust 

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9 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

It's what I use on fish fillets prior to them hitting the pan. Dries the surface nicely and you get good browning and crust 

Exactly.

 

I also use Wondra for shaking straight into pan gravy to thicken it. No lumps if you whisk and no sheen to the gravy like you get with a starch slurry.

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On the topic of 'Best flour for Roux', I am hearing people talking about lumps. Lumpy roux can't happen. The flour & fat mix perfectly.  Grainy roux can happen. This may be a problem of semantics. That has been a concern for me when my roux gets grainy- I have thrown out roux because of this, but learned later that the graininess goes away when you add the trinity. Graininess is not a problem of scorching or burning the roux.  Can anyone else tell me about this problem? Another question I had is about burning: it is the flour that burns, correct? And the only way it can burn is if it gets too hot, right? How hot? Is there a number? And the other factor is keeping the roux moving around perfectly (stirring constantly). Btw, I prefer clarified butter (ghee) as opposed to oil. Overheated oil is very unhealthy (read trans fats) from all I've researched on this topic, and butter of course tastes better. I realize the difference in cost of course. Any thoughts anybody?

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In my experience lumps only happen when there is not enough butter or the butter is heated too much prior to the addition of the flour. The quantities given in recipes assume that you add everything at the right time and with the right amount of heat. Not doing either of these creates problems. 

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I haven't done that one yet. I suppose that quickens the darkening process yes? How far dare I go with the cooking of the flour alone? Cuz flour will scorch. I do understand I have to keep it moving (consistently stirring). I've yet to make a good black roux - I always end up throwing it out cuz I think it's scorched. Maybe it isn't . I use roux for Gumbo. But I've not yet gotten my skills to the "black" stuff, which I'd like to learn.  

*Someone else use a word for that-"dextrinizing" the flour. Huh?

*And Pufin3 says the process is called "clarifying the wheat starch" 

Do these processes have anything to do with the roux becoming grainy? (Pufin3 says proteins rise to the top. Hmm.  I've never seen a scum forming on top of my roux.) The Grainy-thing --  is that the proteins coming together/ and then they disperse when you add to gumbo? (Btw, the method I use when making gumbo called for adding the Trinity to the roux directly, then building from there. It is a counterintuitive method, but one that is old as the hills-& traditional.) Dark roux is what I'm after. Has anybody created the perfect black roux?

 

On the topic of 'Best flour for Roux', I am hearing people talking about lumps. Lumpy roux can't happen. The flour & fat mix perfectly.  Grainy roux can happen. This may be a problem of semantics. That has been a concern for me when my roux gets grainy- I have thrown out roux because of this, but learned later that the graininess goes away when you add the trinity. Graininess is not a problem of scorching or burning the roux.  Can anyone else tell me about this problem? Another question I had is about burning: it is the flour that burns, correct? And the only way it can burn is if it gets too hot, right? How hot? Is there a number? And the other factor is keeping the roux moving around perfectly (stirring constantly). Btw, I prefer clarified butter (ghee) as opposed to oil. Overheated oil is very unhealthy (read trans fats) from all I've researched on this topic, and butter of course tastes better. I realize the difference in cost of course. Any thoughts anybody?

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3 hours ago, nickrey said:

In my experience lumps only happen when there is not enough butter or the butter is heated too much prior to the addition of the flour. The quantities given in recipes assume that you add everything at the right time and with the right amount of heat. Not doing either of these creates problems. 

Ah-so, you say "lumps"-what size? Are you referring to the graininess? If a recipe for a traditional "roux" is used, lumps won't happen  becuz quantities are approx. half and half, right?  Escoffier is six-to-5 I believe, & that's close enough to half and half, for this conversation.  Heating butter- only til it melts, then add flour right? And stir til it's done, on whatever heat you are comfortable with, but stirring constantly. I'm talking roux for gumbo here. Right?  Thank you btw!  

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On the topic of 'Best flour for Roux', I am hearing people talking about lumps. Lumpy roux can't happen. The flour & fat mix perfectly.  Grainy roux can happen. This may be a problem of semantics. That has been a concern for me when my roux gets grainy- I have thrown out roux because of this, but learned later that the graininess goes away when you add the trinity. Graininess is not a problem of scorching or burning the roux.  Can anyone else tell me about this problem? Another question I had is about burning: it is the flour that burns, correct? And the only way it can burn is if it gets too hot, right? How hot? Is there a number? And the other factor is keeping the roux moving around perfectly (stirring constantly). Btw, I prefer clarified butter (ghee) as opposed to oil. Overheated oil is very unhealthy (read trans fats) from all I've researched on this topic, and butter of course tastes better. I realize the difference in cost of course. Any thoughts anybody?

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Flour will certainly lump up in an aqueous pan "gravy". That is the strength of using Wondra, no lumps in aqueous sauces but you still get the gravy look without the sheen of a starch-thickened sauce.

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OK, we were talking flour and fat. Sorry, I thought this was a thread about making Roux, which is flour & fat. Sorry to bother you. And oh boy yes-Wondra's wonderful! Just not for roux I think. Yes flour & aqueous can give us lumps if we don't know how to incorporate it!

 

On the topic of 'Best flour for Roux', I am hearing people talking about lumps. Lumpy roux can't happen. The flour & fat mix perfectly.  Grainy roux can happen. This may be a problem of semantics. That has been a concern for me when my roux gets grainy- I have thrown out roux because of this, but learned later that the graininess goes away when you add the trinity. Graininess is not a problem of scorching or burning the roux.  Can anyone else tell me about this problem? Another question I had is about burning: it is the flour that burns, correct? And the only way it can burn is if it gets too hot, right? How hot? Is there a number? And the other factor is keeping the roux moving around perfectly (stirring constantly). Btw, I prefer clarified butter (ghee) as opposed to oil. Overheated oil is very unhealthy (read trans fats) from all I've researched on this topic, and butter of course tastes better. I realize the difference in cost of course. Any thoughts anybody?

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